Children as young as four will now be trained in cybersecurity due to concerns they are at risk of being targeted online by child sex offenders.

The Federal Government has announced the ThinkUKnow cybersafety program will be extended to children in kindergarten and years one and two.

The program, aimed at parents, teachers and until now students from years three to 12, has been running in Australian schools for the past nine years.

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Angus Taylor said the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has found kindergarten-aged children have been unknowingly uploading sexually explicit material.

“We realise now that young kids are engaging online with phones and iPads and so on in a way that they didn’t in the past,” Mr Taylor said.

“With younger children it’s a different focus. We can’t expect them to have the same level of sophistication as a kid who is 15 or 16.

“But we can make sure that parents are supervising closely, that they’re helping their kids to identify suspicious behaviour, and that the parents know how to block apps that are inappropriate.

The ThinkUKnow program is led by the AFP, not schools, in collaboration with major corporations like Microsoft and the Commonwealth Bank.

“The AFP has received more than 10,000 reports in the last year or so of child exploitation material, and so of course this is a major focus for them,” Mr Taylor said.

“In the last financial year they arrested over 90 alleged offenders.”

– Katherine Gregory

Read more: Kindergarten Kids to Get Cyber Safety Training

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